Horizon at Sandy Point

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Smoke free, free at last

In the middle of the dreadful flu with wracking coughs that hurt my chest and make my eyes water, it just struck me like a light going on. The house has been cigarette smoke free for the first time since it was built. All the bowls that have ever been used as ashtrays have been washed out. All the butts that have been thrown on the driveway have been swept away. It's not something that you miss, but you know it's not there. The familiar smell clinging to worn garments is now just sweat. Even the car smells better.

I've never smoked but hearing from everyone else, smokers and their non-smoker spouses, I realise how hard it is to stop.  Impossible not to follow the reflexive urge with the breakfast coffee, when you are sitting on the toilet, after something enjoyable like a great (or indifferent) meal or the classic smoke, after making love. I feel the ex-smoker's tension when some cowboy, or glamor or drama queen, lights up in the movie. And in the real world, there are any number out in the real world who feel nothing about blowing smoke in your face - laws notwithstanding. It's offensive to the non-smoker whose response is disgust. It's torture for the ex-smoker.

Fortunately the world has gone the way of restricting smoking places - and if that seems reactionary or conservative, it's fresh air for non-smokers.

Smokers start at any age, and it is impossible to induce them to stop at any age by logic or reason. Show them pictures of amputees - limbs lost due to narrowed arteries and diminished circulation - blackened lungs, bad livers, and you imagine them crossing themselves and thinking "that could not be me!" Unfortunately the wake up calls are almost as dire. A broken bone that is shattered and almost too brittle to hold a screw cannot easily be fixed by a body that is depriving itself of the ability to make useful calcium and actively replacing nutrition with lungfuls of smoke that just barely does not kill you.

To my other friends who do smoke, I don't wish you life threatening experiences. I will warn you however that my home is now a no smoking zone! And to those of you with children, keep them away from smokers for as long as you possibly can.

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